Political Parties and the Rhetoric and Realities of Democratization
This chapter considers how political parties may be contributing to changes in the relationships between citizens and the democratic process in established industrial democracies. Parties may promote democratizing reforms through their rhetoric as well as through the culture they nurture within their own organizational domains. The changes in the values that parties have proclaimed in their election platforms are first examined. The changes they have made in their selection procedures, and in the inclusion of interest groups on parties’ decision-making bodies are then assessed. The investigation finds that while few parties in these countries have given top priority to campaigning on democratic themes, many have nevertheless embraced an internal agenda of democratization, altering party rules to offer party members a greater say in party decisions.
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